Tea is an important part of Japanese culture and, without any doubts, an important part of everyday life in Japan. There are many great places in Sendai where you can buy some delicious tea, but this time I want to introduce one place that has some nostalgic atmosphere and, what is no less important, offers great tea and tea supplies for reasonable prices.
Marumatsuen is situated in Iroha-yokocho. We already had a chance to introduce our readers to this amazing Showa-style restaurant and shop district, and Marumatsuen is a very respectable citizen of this small community. Its origins must be looked for in Shizuoka prefecture, famous for its tea. In 1932, the shop was opened in Shizuoka, but as many repeated customers were from Sendai, the owner (present owner’s grandfather) decided to move to our “Forest capital” to present a rather unusual for Sendai variety of tea - Kakegawa tea. The owner says that Kakegawa tea is strong, but not bitter. It is easy to drink, and even small children like it.
Apparently, this tea perfectly suited Sendai people’s taste, and soon Marumatsuen expanded, and started selling the most cutest and unique teapots that you can imagine. Tokoname-yaki 常滑焼ceramics from Aichi prefecture are very refined and can become a special present to your relatives who want the best souvenirs from Japan. And banko-yaki 万古焼きfrom Mie prefecture are a must-have for those who love to use things for many-many years, as banko-yaki teapots become even more beautiful with time. If you use this teapot frequently, it gets a special glow, that you cannot see in a new teapot.
Along with the style of ceramics, Marumatsuen teapots have a practical appeal. Left-handers will be delighted to find teapots perfectly suitable for left hand. And some incredible innovation - a tea-pot with two spouts! This way, you can fill your own cup and your guest’s cup at the same time! In fact, there are teapot with four spouts, but it is merely a joke. If you want something cute, you can buy a teeny-tiny real teapot that can be even used for serving tea!
Together with teapots, many beautiful cups, mugs, tea boxes and other products associated with tea can be found in Marumatsuen.
But the most important thing is, of course, tea itself. This is where it all starts, right? Marumatsuen offers different kinds of tea that vary in taste and in price as well. It is amazing how different can be Japanese green tea! Hatsu-sakura 初桜 tea, a little bit on the pricy side, is mild, with a gentle aroma, a kind of tea that you can serve even to those who are not big fans of green tea. For the contrast, we try the cheapest one - bancha 番茶, made from the second flush of tea leaves. The owner warns us that we shouldn’t think that bancha is worse than shincha - the tea made from the first flush. Bancha has a stronger taste, filled with umami, and it has a better healing effect! If you have frequent headaches, you should definitely try to drink more bancha.
Sendai Motions team tried bancha as well. I guess, this is the kind of tea that will win the hearts of those who love Japanese tea dearly. It perfectly suits Japanese-style lunch or breakfast, and although it has a rather strong taste and aroma, I’ve been drinking it for a week now, and still haven’t grown tired of it. Maybe it is best to buy one expensive tea that you can enjoy on special moments of relaxation, and bancha for keeping you healthy and energetic everyday.
Iroha-yokocho is full of surprises. Marumatsuen is just one of them. Come to treat yourself and your guests to a wonderful Kakegawa tea, and find some other surprises nearby!
Iroha-yokocho, 2–3–28 Ichibancho, Aoba, Sendai, Miyagi
Closed on Sundays and national holidays